Emblem 060: Ouroboros

You’ve met him before, the snake with his tail in his mouth. He comes to us from alchemy. There he stands for the circulatio, a process that continues itself. The material on which you work in its closed container, responding to gentle persistent heat, sublimes and rises, condenses and falls. Repeat as necessary.

There are matters in our lives in such process. “Why is this bothering me again? I thought I already dealt with it,” we think. We’re right, we did. But it needs more work. When we’re the material the work takes a lifetime.

Alchemy isn’t about being done with things. It’s about change. Each time the material cycles it incorporates all of your previous hard-won insights into itself. Gradually it transforms. Look at the image of the ouroboros. As he changes, so does his diet. As his diet changes, so does he. He’s neither what he was nor what he’ll be. He’s traveling.


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